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flatter (oneself)

To hold a vain, self-congratulatory, and exaggeratedly high opinion of oneself and/or one's achievements. Yeah, don't flatter yourself—she only asked you out to dinner because she wants to ask you about your brother. Gaston likes to flatter himself that he's the best man in town, but everyone knows he's just a pompous jerk.
See also: flatter

flatter to deceive

To seem better or more promising than someone or something really is. A: "I can't believe that team didn't make the playoffs after starting the season so well." B: "I guess they just flattered to deceive."
See also: deceive, flatter

flatter (one's) figure

To fit one's body well and make it look especially attractive, as of clothing. You look gorgeous—that dress really flatters your figure!
See also: figure, flatter

flatter one's figure

Fig. [for clothing] to make one look thin or to make one's figure look better than it is. The lines of this dress really flatter your figure. The trousers had a full cut that flattered Maria's figure.
See also: figure, flatter

flatter oneself

Be gratified vainly by one's own achievement; exaggerate one's good points. For example, He flattered himself that his presentation at the sales conference was a success, or She flattered herself that she was by far the best skater at the rink. This usage is often put negatively, as in Don't flatter yourself-we haven't won the contract yet. [Late 1500s]
See also: flatter

flatter to deceive

encourage on insufficient grounds and cause disappointment.
1913 Field Two furlongs from home Maiden Erlegh looked most dangerous, but he flattered only to deceive.
See also: deceive, flatter
References in classic literature ?
Let us flatter ourselves that I may be the survivor.
Dear Sir,--Pursuant of our policy, with which we flatter ourselves you are already well versed, we beg to state that we shall give a passport from this Vale of Tears to Inspector Bying, with whom, because of our attentions, you have become so well acquainted.
But this is one of the vain thoughts with which we men flatter ourselves.
Let us not flatter ourselves that we are valiant above the average.
They are misguided, in my view, but they aren't stupid, and we flatter ourselves by assuming their preference for Trump is evidence merely of economic forces they don't understand.
Worse there cannot be; a better, I believe, there may be, by giving energy to the capital and skill of the country to produce exports, by increasing which, alone, can we flatter ourselves with the prospect of finding employment for that part of our population now unemployed.
We flatter ourselves when we think we can intervene advantageously in others' lives.
Ultimately, "we" only flatter ourselves that curricular diversity is a universal academic value.
We flatter ourselves that we are the germ of a great state, and are anxious to give an early tone to the moral and intellectual character of its citizens.
Living in an age saturated with supercomputing power, we like to flatter ourselves that there's very little we can't figure out.
But we use the two stereotype extremes for the same purpose, to flatter ourselves, to reassure ourselves of how far we think we've come.
We flatter ourselves by thinking that as a result of media plurality we are a more aware nation.
We flatter ourselves that the current generation endures greater stress, and this itself undoubtedly creates additional stress.
We flatter ourselves that we're not easily bought, but there's always a chance that this largesse has compromised our objectivity.
It's an example of how we flatter ourselves, Michael S.